The roses listed below were chosen because of their “fabulous fragrance.” Out of the multitude of AARS rose winners since the 1960s, these ten made our list of top ten for rose fragrance.
There are actually over two dozen different sorts of rose scents that contribute to the rose's fragrance, with some roses having a mixture of these various perfumes. The seven basic scents that are most often found in hybrid tea roses include rose, nasturtium, orris, violet, apple, lemon, and clover. Some of the other scents are fern or moss, hyacinth, orange, bay anise, lily-of-the-valley, linseed oil, hone, wine, marigold, quince, geranium, peppers, parsley, and raspberry.
1. Double Delight
Double Delight, a hybrid tea rose with a long season of bloom, was an AARS winner back in 1977. The double blossoms have a rich, creamy white to pale pink center with deep, ruby edging. They have a bushy habit, growing to about 4-5 feet with a 2-3 foot spread. Double Delight shows good disease resistance, although less so in wet weather, which also does in the blossoms. Expect a sweet, spicy scent.
Elle, a 2005 winner, is another hybrid tea rose. She displays above average disease resistance, especially to black spot and mildew. The blossoms are a soft, shell pink set off by glossy, dark green foliage. All of that plus a spicy, citrusy scent.
Elle promises to make an excellent cut flower, with 4-5 inch wide blooms held on 10-14 inch stems.
3. 4th of July
In 1999, Fourth of July was the first climbing rose to win the AARS award in 23 years. The blossoms are everything you'd expect from a rose named 4th of July, clusters of large 4 inch flowers in vibrant red with white stripes, on 10-14 foot arching canes.
As with all the roses listed here, the scent is exceptional. 4th of July has the added bonus of being a repeat bloomer.
4. Honey Perfume
Not many floribunda roses boast any scent, let alone deserve the name of Honey Perfume. A wonderful spicy scent and apricot yellow blooms truly set Honey Perfume apart from the already wonderful category of floribundas.
Growing about 3-4 feet high and 2-3 feet wide, Honey Perfume makes a great specimen or low hedge. It exhibits very good rust and mildew resistance.
5. Memorial Day
Memorial Day is arguably the front runner for fragrance. As AARS puts it, "experts say one bloom perfumes almost an entire room." This is another of the popular hybrid teas and was an AARS winner in 2004. Memorial Day has 5 inch, clear pink blossoms with a lavender glow about them.
The fragrance is described as similar to the old fashioned damask roses. Cutting stems are nice and long and the bushes are an especially good choice for hot climates.
6. Midas Touch
Midas Touch won its AARS prize back in 1994 and can be found in many gardens today. It shines with golden yellow 4 inch blossoms on an upright 5 foot plant. Midas Touch is yet another hybrid tea beauty with a warm, musky scent.
7. Mr. Lincoln
It's hard to believe Mr. Lincoln won his AARS distinction back in 1965. The velvety, deep red hybrid tea is still one of the most popularly grown garden roses.
Beautiful as well as strongly scented, Mr. Lincoln's blossoms are held are stiff, upright stems. The bushes can be expected to grow 4-5 feet tall and about 2 feet across.
This spicy scented floribunda was the first striped rose to win the AARS award. With burgundy and creamy white stripes, Scentimental hardly needs its wonderful fragrance to attract attention, but that's what made it an award winner in 1997.
9. Sheer Bliss
Sheer Bliss is a delicate, pale pink hybrid tea. While it needs a bit of winter protection, its delicate beauty, and mild, but sweet fragrance and repeat blooming habit make it a standout favorite. The large flowers bloom on long stems, perfect for cutting.
Hardiness info is scant, but most agree it will survive to Zone 6.
10. Sun Sprinkles
Sun Sprinkles, a miniature rose, won its award in 2001. Brilliant yellow blooms open early and repeat all summer. With excellent disease resistance, Sun Sprinkles is a great choice even in a garden with limited space.
Growing in low and mounded to about 18 - 24 inches, Sun Sprinkles can be used as an edger, in containers or as a specimen. The spicy, musky fragrance and vivid color will make people stop for a closer look.